26 Nov 2009

OU and The Welding Institute launch work-based foundation degree

A new foundation degree launched today will enable technicians to gain a higher education qualification, enhance their career prospects and could help to bridge the gap into senior engineering, management or other higher level positions. The Open University and The Welding Institute (TWI) degree scheme has financial support from The Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust (LRET).

Under the scheme, students will gain credits for welding engineering diploma courses taught at TWI. These courses start at a practical level, and successful completion of the exams will provide points towards an Open University degree. Students will be able to remain in the workplace while they study, as the degree is based on distance learning modules.

The foundation degree will be launched at an inauguration seminar at The Open University on 26 November 2009, where the Deed of Collaboration will also be signed.

Professor Mike Fitzpatrick, The LRET Chair in Materials Fabrication and Engineering at The Open University, said: “We are delighted to be working with TWI on the provision of this new foundation degree at a time where the need for engineering skills outstrips the supply of conventional graduates. This provides new opportunities for students already based in industry.”

Dr Bob John, Chief Executive of TWI, said “This visionary initiative goes right to the heart of industry's need to upskill their current workforce and simultaneously meet the growth opportunities arising from investment in advanced engineering in our energy and high value adding manufacturing sectors.”

Michael Franklin, LRET Director, added: “The Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust works to engage young people with engineering and to encourage them to pursue it as a career. We need more highly skilled engineers in all disciplines to solve all manner of challenges in the 21st Century. With The Open University and TWI, we have an excellent team to make a significant impact across industry by helping people to further improve their skills in the area of materials fabrication.”

The inauguration seminar will include a series of talks on energy generation for the future, with examples from the nuclear industry with which the OU has strong links in research and skills development.

Editor’s Notes:
The Open University(OU) is the United Kingdom's largest university and the world leader in distance education. More than two million people have studied with the OU since it began in 1969. The OU has more than 200,000 students in over 40 countries studying for a variety of degrees and vocational qualifications ranging from short courses to PhDs.
Independent authorities have consistently ranked the OU in the top five UK universities for teaching quality and virtually all of the University’s research areas have received ratings of national or international excellence. OU students are more impressed with the quality of their courses and the support received than those at any other UK university, based on the findings of the National Student Survey. The OU has been at the top of the rankings every year since the survey began in 2005.

The Welding Institute is one of the world's foremost independent research and technology organisations. Based in Cambridge, UK, since 1946, and with several offices around the world, we have a long history of invention and innovation. We work across all industry sectors and are experts in all aspects of materials joining and related technologies. Please see our Technologies and Industries pages for more information on our specific services and capabilities.

The Lloyd's Register Educational Trust, an independent charity, was established in October 2004. Its principal purpose is to fund advances in transportation, science, engineering and technology education, training and research worldwide for the benefit of all. It also supports work that enhances the safety of life and property at sea, on land and in the air.

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